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How Chicago Area Homeowners Can Avoid Too-Good-To-Be-True Furnace Offers

Many Chicago homeowners still use fire-based appliances as their primary heat source for their home. Whether that's a fireplace or a wood stove, the fear of carbon monoxide and smoke poisoning is very real. Unfortunately, some companies play on just such an emotion with too-good-to-be-true furnace offers. 

When to Second-Guess an Offer

These “unreal” furnace offers run something like this: A company will offer a furnace inspection for a price that seems too good to be true. Once they actually get in your home, they'll suddenly find all sorts of damage—expensive damage that needs to be repaired quickly. Usually, they'll tell you that if you don't fix it soon, you're in danger of a house fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. Sometimes, it's not furnace offers, but ductwork cleaning service instead.

Sometimes, the scammer will go the extra mile to get you to sign a check. They'll turn off your furnace, leaving you to suffer the bitter Chicago cold until it's repaired for your own safety. They may also start offering more discounts, but only if you replace your furnace through them. To get you to move fast, these deals have a limited time offer.

The problem is that getting your heater inspected actually is incredibly important, so these offers and service suggestions are not completely off-base. For example, chimney buildup can lead to house fires—disasters that are completely preventable.  With that in mind, it's simply important to have your furnace inspected regularly. But, it's also vital to make sure you're dealing with a reputable HVAC contractor when doing so.

Hiring a Reputable HVAC Contractor for a Furnace Inspection

  • Always want to make sure that the company you're dealing with is registered with the state. Make sure that they have current liability insurance before they enter your home, in case of damages. If you're careful, you should be able to find a reliable HVAC contractor to work with.
  • If you feel like the contractor you hired is giving you furnace offers that seem to good (or bad!) to be true, get a second opinion. While this means you may have to pay for another inspection, if your furnace didn't need expensive repairs or replacement, you'll save a lot of money in the long run.
  • In the same vein, try not to agree to any same-day installations. If you feel like there's a chance that your furnace may be dangerous enough that it needs immediate replacement, still see if you can arrange to get a second opinion. Many HVAC contractors have 24-hour emergency services and should be able to help. However, if you get regular furnace maintenance, this is unlikely.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for proof. If a contractor is telling you that repairs are needed, ask to see the damage. If a contractor refuses to tell you why repairs are needed or provide you with proof, there's a good chance you're dealing with a scam. Sometimes, a scam artist will offer you pieces of debris as "proof," rather than a photograph. Tell them this is not acceptable! You have no way of knowing that debris is from your chimney, not someone else's. While you may not know what you're looking for in a chimney inspection, if there is damage to that extent, you should be able to see it once it's pointed out to you.
  • Do some research. The Internet has information on almost every furnace system out there, as well as general information on repairs and scams. Listen to what the contractor has to say, then verify it online. Bogus furnace offers may sound legitimate, but when you actually look up the information, the parts they're referencing may not even belong to your furnace.

A little bit of research can also uncover whether or not what they're trying to sell is superior. Make sure to do your research before the contractor shows up. If you run into something you're not familiar with, avoiding any same-day installations can give you the time to further check the claim out.

If you have any questions about furnace offers in the Chicago area, please contact us at Comfort24-7. We have over 50 highly-trained and licensed contractors to help you with your HVAC needs.

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